Vintage wedding bells in Leeds

By Jessica Elgot, September 21, 2010
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An elaborate re-enactment of a traditional Jewish Victorian wedding ceremony is planned to celebrate 150 years of the Leeds Jewish community.

Now organisers are seeking volunteers to play the bride, groom and guests at the mock ceremony on November 28 in the public atrium of Leeds museum.

Organised by Makor, the "wedding" will be officiated by Rabbi Jason Kleiman of Beth Hamidrash Hagadol synagogue and the chazan will be Albert Chait from Leeds United Hebrew Congregation. Couples, married or not, and friends are sought to volunteer to play the part of bride and groom.

Organiser Helen Frais is seeking authentic vintage items for the ceremony, including a wedding dress, a chuppah, a ketubah and old wedding invitations.

Entertainment will be provided by the Leeds Klezmer band and the "guests" will participate in traditional folk dancing.

Ms Frais said: "We're very creative here in Leeds but we like to make sure that Jewish culture is accessible and interesting to everyone."

The event will last all afternoon and any member of the public will be able to attend the museum.

An interactive exhibition of Jewish life in Leeds will also be on display at the museum. Makor then plans to take the exhibition, and perhaps the wedding ceremony role-play, to communities across the country.

The event is part of a £50,000 project to celebrate 150 years of Jewish heritage and contributions to the city, named LJ150.

High profile exhibitions are planned over the next two years to showcase works by home-grown artists.

    Last updated: 9:58am, September 22 2010